Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently announced that they were recalling almost 900,000 vehicles worldwide because of potential air bag defects. This is a new recall and is not part of any previous recalls involving air bag problems.
What may come as a surprise is that this recall is not because of Takata air bags. Though problematic inflators have plagued Takata for the past several years and have spawned recalls involving over 30 million vehicles, this recall involves air bags that have defective sensors and have been linked to seven injuries.
Fiat Recalls to Address Faulty Air Bag Deployments
The new recall involves over 280,000 Jeep Liberties (2003 models) and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs (2004 models) that need replacements to some components that are at risk of creating accidental air bag deployments. These are not Takata air bags. Fiat is also recalling thousands of these vehicles in Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere for the same issue.
The company is aware of 7 injuries related to this defect. Most involved minor bruising, though one occupant did suffer a concussion.
In addition, the recall includes over 275,000 U.S. Dodge Journey cross-utility vehicles (2012-2015 models) for anti-lock brake system problems. Additional vehicles are being recalled in other countries for this same issue.
Fiat advised consumers that some vehicles may require new front- and/or side-impact sensors to accommodate upgraded software.
According to Detroit News, Fiat Chrysler has now issued 38 recalls covering 11.4 million vehicles in the U.S.
Fiat Has Recalled Vehicles Due to Potentially Defective Takata Air Bags
Though this particular recall doesn’t include Takata air bags, Fiat Chrysler does have other vehicles that are currently under recall because of potentially faulty Takata air bags. These include the following:
• Chrysler 300 (2005-2010)
• Chrysler Aspen (2007-2008)
• Dodge Challenger (2008-2010)
• Dodge Charger (2005-2010)
• Dodge Dakota (2005-2011)
• Dodge Durango (2004-2008)
• Dodge Magnum (2005-2008)
• Dodge Ram 1500 (2004-2008)
• Dodge Ram 2500 (2005-2009)
• Dodge Ram 3500 (2006-2009)
NHTSA Fines Takata for Mishandling of Air Bag Defects
On November 3, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) imposed an up to $200 million fine against Takata for its mishandling of the air bag issue. The company must pay $70 million of that right away, and then may be charged an additional $130 if they fail to meet commitments as set forth by the NHTSA.
The administration also set deadlines by which Takata is to repair recalled air bags, and has required the company phase out its use of the controversial propellant ammonium nitrate, unless they can prove within a set amount of time that the propellant is safe. Some experts have questioned the use of the chemical for months now, stating that it is inherently unstable, particularly when exposed to high temperatures and high humidity levels.
The NHTSA has set as “high priority” those vehicles to be recalled that “live” in states that regularly have high temperatures and high humidity. Older vehicles are also deemed to be at higher risk.
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